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What You Need to Know About Hepatitis C

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What Is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C refers to a disease that results from a certain virus that targets and infects the liver. If you have contracted Hepatitis C, you could eventually be at risk for liver failure, liver cancer, and cirrhosis.

Hepatitis C can be difficult to catch since you may not be aware of having it until your liver has become damaged, which can take years.

While a serious condition, Hepatitis C  can be managed and you can continue to lead a full and normal life with an effective treatment program approved by your doctor.

How Is Hepatitis C Transmitted?

Being exposed to Hepatitis C-infected blood is the most common way to contract the disease. Hugging, kissing, coughing, sneezing, and sharing food and drink with someone who has the disease will not put you at risk of getting Hepatitis C. If the infected blood enters your bloodstream, you become at risk for also developing Hepatitis C. Some specific ways Hepatitis C  can enter your bloodstream include

  • sharing illegal drugs and a needle or syringe with someone who has Hepatitis C
  • sharing toothbrushes, razors or personal hygiene items with someone who has Hepatitis C
  • accidental exposure or injury with a needle that has been in contact with Hepatitis C-infected blood
  • sexual contact involving risky sexual behavior that could break skin or draw blood, having multiple sexual partners, having a sexually transmitted disease, or having HIV
  • getting a tattoo or piercing with a needle that has come in contact with infected blood

The number one cause of Hepatitis C in the US is sharing needles for illegal drug use. However, it is important to be careful in any situation with needles even if you do not use drugs. If you have any questions about proper hygiene and safe procedure and equipment care, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor.

Hepatitis C Symptoms

Hepatitis C often will not have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages of the disease. Common symptoms that do develop may include

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle soreness
  • Joint paint
  • Irritated and itchy skin
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (this typically shows up when other symptoms begin to improve)

Many people could experience chronic Hepatitis C without any sign of symptoms. This means you could have the disease for 15 years or more before seeking diagnosis. Your doctor can verify whether you have Hepatitis C with a blood test, which checks for Hepatitis C antibodies.

Hepatitis C Treatment

Hepatitis C medicationDepending on the severity of your individual case of Hepatitis C, your doctor will recommend the best course of action. Your doctor may prescribe a single medication or a combination of medication that fights the infection in your body. The specific prescription drugs and dosage will depend on the type of Hepatitis C you have, your degree of liver damage, and severity of infection.

To best manage your overall health as well as your Hepatitis C, it is important that you prioritize a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercise and a healthy diet is always essential to managing your condition. Since Hepatitis C damages your liver, it will be beneficial to avoid alcohol, illegal drugs and any medications that are tough on the liver.

There has been significant developments since 2010 in effective Hepatitis C treatment. While therapy used to consist of interferon injections to encourage your immune system, new antiviral pills (DAAs) will directly target the virus. Antiviral medication has proven to be highly effective and can reach over 90% cure rates. These new DAA pills and therapies are expensive, and you will have to check with your private and government coverage. Do your research as well, and get the best prices possible from Canadian online pharmacies to save on medication costs.

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